Sunday, August 1, 2010

The worst websites are ones with content issues, not necessarily the ugliest

Iltalehti, a Finnish tabloid and one of the most popular websites in Finland, published an online news story entitled "Is this the world's worst website?". They linked a Finnish camping site - and for a reason. Take a look: is this the content for a camping site? I mean come on. A Middle Eastern person with a rocket launcher? On a camping site? That site's even owned by the city of Hamina, not an individual or small company.

a screenshot from the news page. Nice camping times!

In the news story, the author also asked people to list bad websites in the comments section. As you can imagine, links to amazingly bad websites kept (and still keep) coming.

But that's not everything. Surprisingly many took the time to complain about sites that aren't that bad. People absolutely hated the sites that lacked the information they wanted. That's not so obvious to designers. The most important thing for web users is to be able to find the information they're looking for. The graphics aren't totally meaningless but the content is what got the user there in the first place.

Let's think about a car trip for a while. It's always great to be able to drive on nice, well-maintenanced highway. A bad road with bumps and cracks is literally a pain in the... you know. The condition of the road is only about convenience. The point is the destination. Think about what happens if you miss the turn you needed to take because the sign wasn't obvious enough. You end up some place far away from your destination. Then it doesn't really matter if the road was perfect to drive on. Everything was a big waste of time. On the other hand, the road to your summer house might not be in a perfect shape. Still, you enjoy the trip because you know you'll love it in the destination.

Websites are like roads. A good one guides you to your destination - gives you the information you want. A bad one wastes your time. Visual design is not the main concern.

As I mentioned early on in this post, people posted links to ugly, unusable websites. There are ugly websites and then there are amazingly ugly websites. Here are few links to some sites that might need a redesign. I guess it's safe to say that visual design does matter, too. Have fun. (made on purpose) (made on purpose) (made on purpose) (quite bad for a politician)

Feel free to link more, I'll add the most horrible ones to the list.


  1. Why is there?

  2. Hi, I find it funny that you are a UX designer but you didn't design your own blog template.

    While learning from mistakes can be helpful, in my opinion it is more effective to study the works of other professionals. Wonderful creative examples also give me inspiration, which is an added bonus. This list only makes me laugh. I hope in the future you could collect some creative, inspirational examples and analyze or comment on those.

  3. Thanks for the feedback! I just wanted to start blogging, perhaps I'll do my own design later. It just takes time.

    I totally agree about your point on what's more effective. The purpose of that list indeed was to make you laugh. I'll definitely collect creative and inspirational examples and comment on those. Stay tuned for more!

    And what comes to, it was linked in the iltalehti conversations and for a reason. If you're owner of that site and felt offended by this, just ask and I'll take it off the list.

  4. Those sites look like the first one I made when I was something like 12-14 years old and the Internet was a new thing. So yeah, they are pretty bad. I think it's understandable if they are your personal site or you can't really invest in the design. But there are also sites that were paid for and done by so called professionals and they are still completely broken and ugly. I'm pretty sure that those customers would be better off even if they used one of those easy web site generators that some web site hosts offer.

    By the way, that pelulamu site has also been made that way on purpose.

  5. Also the jediakatemia site..

  6. thanks, I put up a mention there.

  7. I so agree with this. But one thing we always should be sure of consistency and relevancy, a relevant content, relevant links and relevant domain.